A 45 year old man has been arrested and accused of sexually abusing 91 female children in day-care centers located in Queensland and New South Wales. 

News articles indicate the alleged perpetrator has now been charged with more than 1600 offences against the children.  It is alleged the abuse occurred over a period of 15 years.   

Concerningly there are reports that the police were contacted about the alleged perpetrator on at least two occasions prior to his arrest.   However, the police have since indicated that they did not have sufficient evidence to charge the alleged perpetrator on these prior occasions.  The alleged perpetrator is presently in custody and will next appear before the Court in November 2023. 

Circumstances where children face abuse in care causes significant concern in the community.  It raises questions about how such incidents are able to occur and what can be done to prevent them in the future. 

Certain employers have legal obligations when working with children.  Their employees need to have a valid Working with Children Check (“WWCC”).  The WWCC is an assessment of a person’s ability to work safely with children.  Ideally employers should have a system to regularly check the validity of an employee’s WWCC.  

Certain employers should also provide appropriate child protection training to their staff.  This training should help staff identify inappropriate behaviour and the signs that a child may be at risk of harm.  Other beneficial training would include age-appropriate discussions with children regarding body safety to help them identify unhealthy touching and secrets and who they can speak with if they feel worried.  

Certain organisations working with children also have mandatory reporting obligations.  This means that they need to report suspicions of child abuse to certain authorities.  Statistics indicate that the number of ‘child at risk notifications’ has been steadily increasing since 2011.  It is believed this increase is due to the impact of various Royal Commissions and media reporting which has raised public awareness regarding mandatory reporting obligations. 

Whilst it may not be possible to prevent every incident of harm, the implementation of policies to ensure training, education and supervision of staff members will be the best way to ensure a safe environment for the children they work with. 

Do you need help?

We recognise that survivors of childhood abuse are strong individuals who deserve the right to seek compensation for the harm they have suffered. We also understand that it can be difficult to know which pathway is the right one to choose. It is important to speak with a lawyer who is experienced in institutional abuse matters prior to accepting any offer of settlement.

We invite survivors to contact our Sydney office on (02) 8222 3333 for a confidential and obligation free discussion to help inform them as to their rights and legal options.